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Habitat Loss

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Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)

Synonyms

Habitat clearing; Habitat conversion; Habitat destruction; Habitat reduction

Definition

Airoldi and Beck (2007) have defined habitat loss as a measurable reduction in the abundance and distribution of natural habitats. Habitat loss is a term that is now in widespread use because of the ongoing impacts on natural systems associated with human population growth and the increasing need for development space and natural resources (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). At the same time, the term “habitat loss” is often defined in inconsistent ways. Most often “habitat” refers to the predominant features that create structural complexity in the environment, such as plants (e.g., pine forests, sea grass meadows) or animals (e.g., coral reefs), and “loss” indicates a focus on a measurable reduction in habitat cover (i.e., areal extent). Loss clearly occurs when natural habitats, such as forests, are cut down and slated for construction of buildings and roads or when salt marshes...

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Bibliography

  • Airoldi, L., and Beck, M. W., 2007. Loss, status and trends for coastal marine habitats of Europe. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 45, 345–405.

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  • Airoldi, L., Balata, D., and Beck, M. W., 2008. The Gray Zone: relationships between habitat loss and marine diversity and their applications in conservation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 366, 8–15.

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  • Bender, D. J., Contreras, T. A., Fahrig, L., 1998 Habitat loss and population decline: A meta-analysis of the patch size effect. Ecology, 79, 517–533.

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  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press.

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  • Pimm, S. L., and Raven, P., 2000. Biodiversity - extinction by numbers. Nature, 403, 843–845.

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Correspondence to Laura Airoldi .

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© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Airoldi, L., Beck, M.W. (2016). Habitat Loss. In: Kennish, M.J. (eds) Encyclopedia of Estuaries. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_155

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